The Companions of Jehu
13. The Wild-Boar
Sir John was just finishing that interesting bit of history when Madame de
Montrevel and her daughter returned. Amélie, who did not know how much had
been said about her between Roland and Sir John, was astounded by the
expression with which that gentleman scrutinized her.
To him she seemed more lovely than before. He could readily understand that
mother, who at the risk of life had been unwilling that this charming creature
should profane her youth and beauty by serving as a mourner in a celebration of
which Marat was the deity. He recalled that cold damp cell which he had lately
visited, and shuddered at the thought that this delicate white ermine before his
eyes had been imprisoned there, without sun or air, for six weeks. He looked at
the throat, too long perhaps, but swan-like in its suppleness and graceful in its
exaggeration, and he remembered that melancholy remark of the poor Princesse
de Lamballe, as she felt her slender neck: "It will not give the executioner much
The thoughts which succeeded each other in Sir John's mind gave to his face an
expression so different from its customary aspect, that Madame de Montrevel
could not refrain from asking what troubled him. He then told her of his visit to the
prison, and Roland's pious pilgrimage to the dungeon where his mother and
sister had been incarcerated. Just as Sir John had concluded his tale, a view-
halloo sounded without, and Roland entered, his hunting-horn in his hands.
"My dear friend," he cried, "thanks to my mother, we shall have a splendid hunt
"Thanks to me?" queried Madame de Montrevel.
"How so?" added Sir John.
"I left you to see about my dogs, didn't I?"
"You said so, at any rate."
"I had two excellent beasts, Barbichon and Ravaude, male and female."
"Oh!" exclaimed Sir John, "are they dead?"
"Well, yes; but just guess what this excellent mother of mine has done?" and,
tilting Madame de Montrevel's head, he kissed her on both cheeks. "She wouldn't
let them drown a single puppy because they were the dogs of my dogs; so the
result is, that to-day the pups, grand-pups, and great-grand-pups of Barbichon
and Ravaude are as numerous as the descendant of Ishmael. Instead of a pair of
dogs, I have a whole pack, twenty-five beasts, all as black as moles with white
paws, fire in their eyes and hearts, and a regiment of cornet-tails that would do
you good to see."
And Roland sounded another halloo that brought his young brother to the scene.
"Oh!" shouted the boy as he entered, "you are going hunting to-morrow, brother
Roland. I'm going, too, I'm going, too!"
"Good!" said Roland, "but do you know what we are going to hunt?"
"No. All I know is that I'm going, too."
"We're going to hunt a boar."
"Oh, joy!" cried the boy, clapping his little hands.